How to Age Without Injury

CDC campaign highlights injury prevention in older adults

(RxWiki News) Getting older doesn't have to mean getting hurt.

That's the takeaway of a new campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The campaign, called Still Going Strong, seeks to highlight ways older adults can age without injuries.

The campaign focuses on injuries that tend to affect older people more than other groups. These include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), falls and motor vehicle crashes.

“Experiencing injuries doesn’t have to be a normal part of aging; many injuries that are common in older adults can be prevented,” said Dr. Debra Houry, director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, in a press release. “We know that injuries and deaths from falls and motor vehicle crashes are increasing in older adults. We hope Still Going Strong will help inform our audience about simple steps they can do to prevent injuries and their lasting effects."

More than 10,000 people in the US turn 65 every day, according to the CDC. But people in that age group aren't the only ones who can take steps to prevent injuries in older adults.

"Everyone has a role — older adults, caregivers, loved ones and healthcare providers," Dr. Houry said. "By taking proactive steps, you can prevent potentially life-changing injuries from happening and maintain your independence and mobility longer.”

Below, we look at some of the most common injuries in older adults and steps to prevent them.

Falls

Falls are the top cause of injuries in older adults — by a long shot. Of the roughly 2.4 million ER visits and 700,000 hospitalizations in this age group in 2018, 90 percent were related to falls, the CDC reported.

Falling often causes serious injuries like broken bones and TBIs. And one falling incident makes an older adult more likely to fall again, the CDC noted.

To help prevent falls, older adults should talk to their health care providers, consider removing rugs and other tripping hazards in their homes, and staying active to improve balance and mobility.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents injure around 700 older adults and kill 22 every single day in the US, according to the CDC. While car accidents are a major cause of injury in all age groups, the risk of being injured in a crash increases with age, the CDC noted.

Older adults can help prevent these injuries by practicing safe driving, always wearing a seatbelt and speaking with their doctors about whether it is safe for them to drive. Loved ones and caregivers can help by finding a ride for older adults during high-risk times, such as at night.

Brain Injuries

TBIs can have serious and long-lasting effects on older adults. They can even be fatal.

Preventing falls, vehicle crashes and other accidents is key to preventing brain injuries. Older adults should speak with their health care providers about safe driving and fall prevention in the home. And care providers and loved ones should help older adults seek medical attention immediately in the event of a possible brain injury.

To get personalized recommendations for your health, speak with your health care provider.

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Review Date: 
May 13, 2021